How far do I go?




It’s Monday morning, approximately 48 hours before the prohibition on chametz takes effect, and I’m only just now beginning my Passover cleaning. We have nearly emptied out our pantry, but I haven’t had time to even consider the rest of the cleaning until the big Birkat Hachamah Solar Fest I was working on took place yesterday.
Now I’m getting started on general housecleaning, and saving the kitchen for last. After everything is clean, then I can move on to kashering tomorrow. And for the first time I can remember, I’m starting to question whether I should continue being so by-the-book strict about Passover. Every year, in addition to cleaning and ridding the house of chametz (and then nullifyling and selling it for good measure), and changing dishes, I also boil all our pots, sauce pans, and flatware and self-clean the oven. Why? The short answer – to expunge the utensils of the chametz. But what is chametz, after all, when hidden in the walls of our pots? In my opinion, (shhhh…..) a figment of the rabbinic imagination! And yet, I spend several long, hot, messy hours, and burn myself every year at least three times, ridding my metal of imaginary leavened “bliyot” (absorbed chametz.)
I would love to write a long, eloquent, post about why I cling furiously to this tradition. But I don’t have time. I have to go clean the oven.

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posted April 6, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Good for you!
(I haven’t begun cleaning.. it’s going to be a late night tonight).

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Robin Weiss

posted April 6, 2009 at 3:37 pm

As I sit here up to my armpits in boiling water and waving good bye to the dumpster that allowed me to clean this past week, I’ll say I hold on to it because it simply is… I do it and remember those who did it before me. I do it and think about those who will do it after me. As Nike would say, Just Do It!
(All that said, I don’t hold other people to my standards. LOL)

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Morah Mary

posted April 6, 2009 at 8:01 pm

I suspect that asking the question (i.e., “How far do I go?”) with the addendum “and why?” may be more important than the answer. At least that’s always been true for me.
On this particular issue, for me, I’ve learned *not* to ask the question when I’m in the middle of .
Nice to see the question posed, though – it lets me know I’m not alone!
Chag sameach.

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posted April 6, 2009 at 8:23 pm

For most of my adult life, I based my level of kashrut on what I needed to do to ensure friends and loved ones would feel comfortable eating in my home. That’s no longer a relevant issue for us – in our community I know very few people who keep kosher with any level of real stringency. This has allowed me to be more reflective about how we practice kashrut, and decide what makes sense/works for me and my family and what doesn’t. Yes, it’s liberating, but in many ways it was a lot easier when things were dictated for me by my community.

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